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Moonlighter: the first indie game I’ve actually finished

Content of the article: "Moonlighter: the first indie game I’ve actually finished"

TL;DR: I really liked Moonlighter. Tough at times, but has a very satisfying gameplay loop.

I first heard about Moonlighter in a random youtube video reviewing a couple different Nintendo Switch games. The basic premise sounded intriguing to me, so I decided to pick it up a couple weeks ago when it was on sale.

The premise is basically that you (Will) own a shop by day but you "moonlight" as a fearless dungeon explorer. The gameplay boils down to a pretty satisfying feedback loop where you go into randomized dungeons by night, collect loot, and then go back to your shop and sell the loot by day. (I know some people really hate rogue-type games, but I think Moonlighter does a fairly good job of motivating you to go back into the dungeons, plus it does allow you to keep your weapons and armor and some of the loot when you die.)

I really enjoyed the progress that I made each time I completed the basic gameplay loop. The game offers a lot of different things you can do with the money you get from selling loot. You can contract a builder to make a forge, a potion shop, a decoration shop, etc. All of those shops let you buy better weapons and armor and get farther into the dungeons so that you can find better loot and then upgrade your shop even more, sell more stuff, get even farther into the dungeons, and on and on.

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I don't have too many criticisms of Moonlighter. There are a couple things that can sometimes make inventory management kinda tedious, but it doesn't affect the overall experience too much. Sometimes it can be confusing when a new feature/gameplay mechanic is introduced, but none of them are too difficult to figure out on your own. Other than that, I guess I could appreciate more variety in the types of weapons since a lot of them don't seem to offer too much more than the basic short sword and shield as far as range goes.

The difficulty is pretty well-paced. The very beginning of the game is extremely difficult, but you quickly see that you are supposed to die in the beginning. After that you get better weapons (especially since you stop use a mop as a weapon in the beginning), and it feels more fair even though it does stay fairly tough, especially when entering a new dungeon and meeting new enemy types.

There are four dungeons, and I think I spent by far the most time in the first one since I was still getting used to the rhythm of the basic gameplay loop. Overall I spent about 35 hours on the game. It felt like a fairly meaty experience without overstaying its welcome. As far as replayability goes, it does have a New Game+ mode after beating the main story once. While I don't want to immediately start another play through, I think that after a good break from the game, I'll get the DLC and go to town with the New Game+ mode.

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I really enjoyed Moonlighter and recommend it to pretty much anybody, especially fans of old 2D Zelda games since that's how the dungeons are designed.


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